Alex Ring Gray

Composer | Improviser | Multimedia Artist

 

concert Music

 
 

For That Which Blooms

Three Voices and Drone (2019)
Composed for Quince Ensemble’s NYU Residency

Program Notes As a child, I “accidentally” fell in love with drones. I would harmonize with the humming machinery around me, especially the motors of fans and fridges. For That Which Blooms is a look back to those days, exploring the ways in which I once sang with machines.


I/O

String Quartet (2019)
Composed for JACK Quartet’s NYU Residency

Program Notes There are two endless directions. In and out.
— Agnes Martin

In the context of this work, I think of “I/O” as a shorthand for “In / Out”, in reference to meditative breathing exercises. In writing this, I thought not only of human breath, but that of accordions and harmoniums, pumping air like living organisms.


geminids

Trombone Choir + Electronics (2019)
Commissioned by the Franklin High School Band for the Music For All Chamber Music National Festival

Program Notes The Geminids is one of the most prominent meteor showers each year. At its peak in mid-December, up to 160 meteors can be seen per hour. One thing that makes the Geminids stand out from others is that it is caused by an asteroid, whereas almost all other meteor showers are caused by comets. I have many memories with this particular shower—it was the first shower I ever watched, and I’ve gotten to share it with many friends over the years. In composing this, I thought of the journey of the asteroid making its way around the sun and its debris falling through our atmosphere.

Recording coming soon


Cries of the Earth

Collaborative Chamber Opera (2019)
Commissioned and composed for the 2019 Art Song Collaborative Project

Recording coming soon

Libretto If any place should be unspoiled / It is here / Why won’t they listen?

Eighty-thousand tons / Plastic Soup / Growing Closer / One point six million kilometers

Million million million million million million million million

Plastic bags / Children’s toys / Eel trap cones / Tooth brushes / Lighters / Fishing Nets / Crates / Oyster Spacers / Bottles / And bottle caps

Plastic soup / Growing closer / It will consume us

When the rain comes down on the brave new world / You’ll put on your plastic rain coat


burnout

Violin + Electronics (2018)
Commissioned for Debora Bang by the Pulsing & Shaking Festival

Program Notes Burnout explores the experience of trying to stay awake and focused while working in a state of exhaustion. No matter how much coffee you’ve drank, once you’ve been up long enough, you enter a hazy cycle of involuntarily crashing and jolting awake.


Stellar parallax

Piccolo + Electronics (2018)
Commissioned by Joshua Weinberg

Program Notes Parallax describes the difference in apparent position from two different lines of sight. We use this everyday when we look through our two eyes—our brains use this to perceive depth. Parallax is also a useful tool for astronomers. By measuring the difference in a star’s position in the sky throughout the year, we are able to determine the star’s distance from us. This is what allows us to map out the universe around us. This translates into my work as long droning lines, slowly falling in and out of tune with one another within a scintillating soundscape.


Quantum Foam

Vibraphone + Electronics (2018)

Program Notes Quantum Foam is centered on the processes of expansion and contraction, which are embedded into every element of the music and technology. When I think of these motions, I think of the Cyclic Universe model. This model shows the universe expanding following the Big Bang, slowing to a halt, and then contracting. During the contraction period, the small-scale fluctuations of spacetime, known as “quantum foam”, would change. Eventually, the universe would collapse to a singularity and another big bang would soon ensue, restarting the infinite cycle. In recent years, evidence has shown that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, thus rendering this model unlikely. However, I still find the concept aesthetically interesting as some kind of infinite organism in perpetual motion.

Recording coming soon


Amorphous

Flexible Ensemble (2018)
Contact for specific orchestrations

Program Notes Amorphous combines my endeavours in minimalist and ambient music, and my endeavours in composition and improvisation. My vision for this piece was to create a mass of sound that appears both stationary and constantly in motion. Clouds of harmonic clusters merge throughout, surfing in a sea of rhythm.


Blueshift

Solo Viola or Cello (2018)
Commissioned by Cameron Rehberg

Program Notes Blueshift focuses on slow, gradually shifting pitch. Caused by the doppler effect, a “blueshift” is an increase in wave frequency—the opposite of a redshift.


Opaque

Marimba + Electronics (2018)
Commissioned by Wesley Fowler


Honestly, I'm Just Guessing

Cello + Electronics (2018)
Commissioned by Ashlee Booth


Drink Full and Descend

Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Electronics (2017)
Commissioned by Seth Fox


Pieces

Collection of event scores, installations, and sound experiments (2017-18)


pulse

Chamber Ensemble (2017)

Cl, B Cl, SATB Saxes, Mr, Vb, Pn, Fixed Media

Program Notes Dedicated to the 49 lives lost in the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL; June 12, 2016


Supergravity

Piano solo or duo (2016)